Creature Comforts vs. Critical Engine Operation

There are two different systems cooling totally different things in your vehicle. They are

  1. The air conditioning system, and
  2. The cooling system

These two systems are commonly confused, so we’re here to share the difference.

And really, it’s the difference between creature comforts and optimal engine operation.

First up, the air conditioning system

This is the program that cools the human beings and the pets sitting on the seats and floor after a long play session down on Alki. You flip it on, direct the vents onto yourself & all of the passengers and you breathe a sigh of relief as the vented air cools you down.

Usually, on hot days (yes, even in West Seattle) it can’t get cold enough, fast enough, for everyone in the car.

This is also the system you use on hot days, when you’ve gone to the store and have a gallon of ice cream. You put the bags in the passenger side on the floor and turn on the vents to get the air conditioning blowing there too.

Then you have your cooling system

This is the system that cools your car. We’re talking about the engine, the radiator and many systems throughout your vehicle that need continual regulation and cooling.

If you have a cooling system problem it can be catastrophic.   If your air conditioning system isn’t cooling your body, you might not be very happy about it but you’re not going to melt, you will just have to roll the windows down.

If your coolant light comes on or your temperature gauge is at “hot”, please pull over and turn off your vehicle.  

If you continue to drive you could do a lot more damage than has already been done.  When in doubt, it’s always best to tow your vehicle to our shop than to risk driving and causing more damage.

You can always have your car towed or brought over to us here at Tom’s Automotive Service in West Seattle. Call to let us know you’re coming: (206) 937-1144.

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Our Reviews

Tom's Automotive Service
Reviewed from Google

4.4 out of 5 stars


4 out of 5 stars

posted 2 months ago

High end auto repair in West Seattle. Professional, white glove kind of service. Seem to know what they're doing. Shuttle available. The two times I've been there have been positive experiences. Not cheap, but not outrageous by any means.
Would recommend.

Penny Winfield
Penny Winfield

5 out of 5 stars

posted 6 months ago

I started going to Tom's Automotive Service on the recommendation of a friend and I am so glad that I did! I found the staff to be professional, knowledgeable, friendly, courteous and accommodating. I stopped by to make an appointment, but needed to have oil added immediately which was done. I also had another problem which they handled promptly. Now they are helping me set up a schedule for servicing my car that should keep things running smoothly. I feel that my car is in good hands and I am very pleased.

Ken Paige
Ken Paige

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 month ago

I have had my 16 YO Volvo serviced at Tom's several times since I first tried them 3-4 years ago. Simply put, their expertise, capabilities and attention to detail are, in my experience, second to none.

Mary Anne Vance
Mary Anne Vance

5 out of 5 stars

posted 4 months ago

Tom's Auto is always there when you need them. Prompt, courteous and excellent mechanics. I have been a happy customer for over 25 years!